Movie and Actor Reviews

Thursday, February 15, 2007

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Writer documentary

My agent, Peter Miller, has produced a documentary on getting published. Take a looksy if interested.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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New Movies

New World
In the early years of the 17th century, North America is much as it has been for the previous five thousand years--a vast land of seemingly endless primeval wilderness populated by an intricate network of tribal cultures. Although these nations live in graceful harmony with their environment, their relations with each other are a bit more uneasy. All it will take to upset the balance is an intrusion... See Full Description

The Matador
When a traveling salesman, Danny Wright, accidentally meets up with Julian Noble, a hit man, at a Mexico City bar, their subsequent evening together intertwines their lives in an unexpected, but lasting bond... See Full Details

Glory Road
The inspiring true story of the underdog Texas Western basketball team, with history's first all African American starting lineup of players, who took the country by storm, surprisingly winning the 1966 NCAA tournament title. Josh Lucas stars as Hall of Famer Don Haskins, the passionately dedicated college basketball coach that changed the history of basketball with his team's victory in this time... See Full Description

An updated re-telling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood." The satire begins where the fable last left off, as there's always more to every tale than meets the eye! Furry and feathered cops from the animal world, Chief Grizzly and Detective Bill Stork, investigate a domestic disturbance at Granny's cottage, involving a girl, a wolf and an axe. The charges are many: breaking... See Full Description

Last Holiday
After being diagnosed with a fatal disease, a shy sales clerk goes on a European vacation to live out the rest of her life. With nothing to lose--or so she thinks--her behavior becomes more irreverent and outrageous each day, only to find out later she was misdiagnosed... See Full Details

The Libertine
Story of the Earl of Rochester, friend and of Charles II and a Restoration era pornographer and poet. He was an anti-monarchist Royalist and an atheist who converted to Christianity. The story is about how the Earl's cynicism is thrown for a loop when he falls in love with a struggling young actress... See Full Details

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

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Dick and Jane

Sunday, December 25, 2005

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Rumor has it

A funny idea, alas, doesn't necessarily make for a funny movie. "Rumor Has It ... " bubbles with promise on the page: A young woman (Jennifer Aniston) learns that her Pasadena family is the inspiration for the book and subsequent movie "The Graduate." This means that her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) is Mrs. Robinson, her late mother is Elaine, and ... who is Benjamin Braddock, the man who slept with both her mother and grandmother, and nearly broke up her parents' marriage?

Read more.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

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Skinny people in fast food movie

Avril Lavigne tucks into Fast Food Nation Staff and agenciesThursday December 22, 2005
Burger queen: Lavigne lines up for Fast Food Nation. Photograph: Anthony Harvey/PA
Canadian pop princess Avril Lavigne is to make her acting debut in a new film about the evils of the fast food industry.

Lavigne will join the ensemble cast of Fast Food Nation, already featuring the likes of Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Esai Morales and Catalina Sandino Moreno. The film will be directed by indie darling Richard Linklater, who recently completed work on A Scanner Darky, adapted from the novel by Philip K Dick.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

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DVDs for Christmas

Trouble finding the perfect Christmas gift? You can’t go wrong buying a DVD. Here’s my Top 10 list. Some of these might surprise you, but fans of these movies or television shows would certainly appreciate these more than your generic DVD in the big crate at Wal-Mart.

Cinderella Man. Just released, this movie should win a few Oscars. Russell Crowe plays Jim Braddock, a washed up boxer who’s lost his punch and works hard to keep food on the table for his family during the Depression. Because a different fighter can’t show up for a fight, Braddock’s former manager gives him a second shot and he comes back in rare form, pounding the faces of everybody who enters the ring.

Ninth season of MASH. Best military series ever made. Funny, at times, dramatic and always original.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force season four. A cartoon featured on Adult Swim, Aqua Teen is unlike any other adult cartoon. It never attempts to take political stances like Southpark or Family Guy. Nor does it stick to a plot. It’s just filled with hilarious, occasionally gross, scenes from its four main characters: Frylock, a talking box of fries with powers; Meatwad, a cute ball of meat who’s naïve; Master Shake, a walking, talking milk shake with a straw and attitude toward everybody; and Carl, a hairy New Jersey guy who’s foul and very rude. However, it’s only funny for those who like to laugh at very stupid things.

Lost. Very addictive and for good reason, it’s the best T.V. drama in the past 10 years.

24. Another addictive drama. Surprisingly, FOX has stuck with Keifer Southerland and the rest of the 24 cast. I say this because any time FOX lands a quality show, they cancel it within two seasons. At any rate, this would be a great gift to anybody anxious for the new season coming out in January.

Firefly. Speaking of great series canceled by FOX, Firefly was the best fantasy series on television for six weeks in 2002. They may have lost their contract, but the actors rebounded by creating Serenity, which topped the Box Office for one week in this summer. Essentially, this series is a cross between an old western – with .45s and holsters -- and Star Wars – with spaceships and foreign planets. Fans of either genre should appreciate this DVD series.

Godfather. Good for any man, any time.

The Shawshank Redemption. This is one of the most widely owned DVDs in the world. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on two of the best-ever acting performances by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Pulp Fiction. A classic that makes one think, laugh and think some more.

Frankenstein. A must have for anybody who likes horror.

Friday, December 09, 2005

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Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is the most talented actor in Hollywood. From his first film, Nightmare on Elm Street to Ed Wood to Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp gives us something we don’t see very often, a versatile actor. He’s not like Adam Sandler, who can only play dumb roles that come off as funny occasionally. He’s not like Matt Damon, who is gifted but doesn’t naturally fit in comedy.

Indeed, Depp seems to walk into any role and walks away from the Hollywood scandals, which may be more impressive than his 40 movies.

My two favorite Depp films are Ed Wood (1994) and Blow (2001), both based on real events and people.

In Ed Wood, a very young Depp plays Ed, a horror director in the mid 1900s deemed the worst-ever director. With a pencil-thin mustache and slick black hair, Depp shows the exact same exuberance and never give up attitude as Ed Wood. In the film, Ed is laughed at by the big boys for his ideas, but doesn’t quit. He seeks funding from the likes of churches and butchers. Ed’s main attraction to nearly every film is featuring the original vampire, Bela Lugosi. When Ed enters Bela’s life, Lugosi was a drug addict. In the movie, Bela tells Ed that his friendship made his final days worthwhile. The way Depp portrays Ed toward Bela makes your neck hairs stand up. Never once, do you feel that Wood is just trying to use Bela to attract movie goers. Instead, when the media swarms Bela at a rehab facility, Ed shoes them away, telling Lugosi, “Those people are parasites. They don’t care about you.”

Ed Wood also liked to wear women’s clothing and to me, this must be one of the hardest roles for an actor… to actually dress like a woman when it wasn’t even remotely popular. When Depp wore his girlfriend’s Angora sweater, you could see the burden lifted from his face. As odd as it was perceived in that day, it was his escape. And it was also the primary reason his girlfriend left him. But Ed was OK. In a sense, Depp gave us a glimpse of the freedom Wood must have felt… he was no longer obligated to hide who he really was.

Ed Wood is ranked in the top 200 films at 179 by IMDb and it’s available on DVD. This would make a great Christmas present for Depp fans or horror film lovers. And if you’re interested in seeing the real Ed Wood’s work, I recommend Plan 9 from Outer Space. It received 3 stars out of 10, but you should see it just to hear the first line, “Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.”

Depp plays George Jung in Blow, a drama that doesn't exploit the world of drugs, nor condemn it. After seeing George's tragic outcomes as a world-class coke dealer, the profession doesn’t seem appealing. However, that really isn’t the main message of the movie and Depp’s acting actually makes you feel pity for George.

At first, Jung was a hardcore dealer, making deals left and right in California. Like all dealers, he started with pot and moved up to coke. A few connections later, he’s the go-to guy in the United States. Then comes his daughter, his shining light.

Like the habit itself, George tries to walk away from the business after nearly getting killed and busted, but he just can’t. He finally makes the decision to be a responsible dad and his caught making his final deal. Jung then spends his days rotting in jail always thinking of his baby girl, who never comes to see him.

In this movie, contrary to what you’d expect from a drug dealer, Depp does not act tough. Rather, he is all about business and making friends and making money, lots of it. I’m sure he spent a lot of time with the real George, as he displays several odd mannerisms throughout.

This film is not rated in the top 200, but would be a great complement to a DVD collector of movies like the Godfather. I would not recommend this film for a former drug user. Seriously.

Depp is currently working on six other films: Shantaram (2007), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2006), The Rum Diary (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Kingdom Hearts II (2005).